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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 6


The year 1847 is a melancholy year in the annals of the United Kingdom, and left very painful memories, as well as distressing problems, in the Highlands of Scotland. The disaster of the potato famine first fell on Ireland, beginning in 1845; but the failure of 1846 was almost equally complete in the Highlands, and the full weight of the misfortune was experienced in 1847. Our columns in the early months of that year furnish reading of the most painful type. In the Western Highlands and Islands the distress was universal; on the east side not so universal, but in many cases bad enough. Riots to prevent the export of grain were common, and in several cases the military had to be called out.

We must refer readers for details to the extracts given below. In this place we may give the following passage from Mr Spencer Walpole’s History:—“Nothing even in Ireland was more pitiful than the distress which was desolating the West Highlands; and to add to the misery of the Highlanders their own misfortunes were for some time overlooked because the Irish were more numerous and more noisy. Yet the lairds of Western Scotland showed the Irish landlords an example which the latter might have followed with advantage. In too many cases the absentee Irish landlords remained either in London or abroad, and allowed their agents to take advantage of the crisis to clear their holdings and eject their tenantry. They clamoured for Government aid, and they protested against the injury to their own estates by the application of a poor law to Ireland. The Scotch laird, on the contrary, submitted to his own ruin in a vain attempt to save his people, and when he applied to the Government sought no relief for himself, but only demanded help for his tenantry.”

The calamity in Ireland was unparalleled. In March it was stated that 734,0000 persons were employed on relief works, and that 240,000 had died. The Government found that the machinery of relief works could not be kept up with advantage, and relief committees were organised throughout Ireland. “At one moment no less than 3,000,000 persons received daily rations under the scheme, and a population was in this way kept alive till the harvest, and the operations which the harvest occasioned enabled society to resume its ordinary aspect. At the same time bills were carried suspending the duty which Peel had still left on foreign corn, and relaxing the regulations of the Navigation Laws, which prevented its importation in vessels which were not British and which were not manned by British seamen.”

In course of the summer Parliament was dissolved. The state of parties in the new House of Commons is given as follows: — Liberals, 333; Peelites, 120; Protectionists. 202. This gave the Government a majority of only 11 over the other two parties combined, but the Peelites on important questions supported the Government. Mr Gladstone was returned for Oxford after a severe contest. Macaulay lost his seat for Edinburgh, chiefly on account of his Maynooth vote and speeches. In the autumn session a bill was passed for the repression of crime in Ireland, which had assumed startling proportions. A new Poor Law bill was also passed for Ireland.

On the 8th of February, Daniel O'Connell addressed the House of Commons for the last time, but “the voice which formerly shook the hall was now sunk to a whisper.” O'Connell went abroad, and died at Genoa on 15th May. According to his instructions, his heart was embalmed and taken to Borne; his body was brought home and interred in Glasnevin Cemetery, followed by a procession of 50,000 persons. The discovery of the planet Neptune was a scientific incident of the year.

In the latter part of the year there was a great commercial crisis, arising from overspeculation in railways and extraordinary fluctuations in the corn trade. The Bank Act had to be suspended.

From the “Inverness Courier-’’ 1847.

January 6 and 13.—On the first date a public meeting is reported! in opposition to the Police and Harbour Bills promoted by the Inverness Town Council. Another public meeting resolved to raise subscriptions to meet local destitution. On the second date we have reports of county meetings held at Inverness and Dingwall to deal with destitution. The contributions to the Free Church Committee in Edinburgh for general relief purposes amounted at this time to over £11,000. The Inverness Town Council appointed a Sanitary Committee to consider the state of the town.—On the 13th another public meeting was held with reference to the Inverness Police and Harbour Bills, and a committee was appointed to examine the bills.

January 20.—Sir Edward Coffin issued an address stating that the Government had resolved to establish depots of food at Oban and Portree, and announcing the conditions for application. A meeting at Glasgow resolved to raise subscriptions. One speaker read a letter from a visitor to South Uist which stated that “starvation, hunger, and famine are in this place. They could not give me a morsel of bread in many places if I would have given them five shillings for one cake.” The editor stated that at least 3000 persons in the Uists and Barra were in a state of deplorable want. Colonel Gordon of Cluny had expended £1121 within the last few weeks in the purchase of meal and other necessaries.

January 27.—There were riots or “meal mobs” at Aberdeen, Peterhead, and other places. The people were anxious to prevent the export of corn or meal. One of these riots took place at Grantown-on-Spey, where special constables had to be sworn in to protect the meal-dealers. The arrival of carters from Lochaber to take away meal had aroused the anger of the inhabitants. The dealers had refused to sell in small quantities to the villagers. Prices were high in consequence of the demand.

Ibid.—At a meeting in Inverness approval was given of the Police and Harbour Bills by a majority of 93 to 34.

Ibid.—The death is announced of Lieut.-Colonel James Mitchell, C.B., of the 92nd Highlanders, who passed away at Spean-Bridge at the age of 77. He obtained an ensign’s commission when the regiment was raised in 1794; he was with Sir John Moore at Corunna, and served throughout the Peninsular war, closing his military service with the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. “When the lamented1 and gallant Colonel Cameron of Fassfern received his mortal wound at Quatre Bras, the command of the 92nd devolved on Colonel Mitchell, and the fighting qualities of the Cordon Highlanders were well sustained in his hands.”

February 3.—The London correspondent writes —“One topic absorbs all others at present. Relief and destitution are the only public watchwords of the day. Party spirit is laid asleep.” The Government had brought forward new measures for Ireland, where almost half-a-million persons were lately employed on public works. Notes on the destitution in the Highlands and the means adopted to meet it appear in this as in other issues. Disturbances had taken place in many towns in the North. The editor says—“Speculation in the South has increased the price of grain to a very grievous extent, and that increase, with the fact of daily shipments being made, has very generally alarmed the least informed classes on the shores of the whole Northern Counties. In Banff, Moray, and Ross, there have been riotous demonstrations to induce dealers to keep the corn at home. While we regret that such a spirit should be manifested, we are afraid that the blame does not always rest with the crowd.” In Inverness carts were turned back at the harbour and the Waterloo Bridge, and attempts were made to raid meal stores. In the neighbourhood of Evanton, in Ross-shire, a large crowd) prevented the shipment of grain. There is a long list of disturbances, or threatened disturbances, and of action taken by the authorities.

February 10.—It is stated that over the North generally quietness had been restored. “This has been accomplished, in the majority of instances, by assurances being given to the people that meal will be placed, in ample quantities, within their reach at fair prices.” The quiet, however, was only temporary. Subsequent issues gives particulars of meal mobs at many places, including Beauly, Rosemarkie, and Balintraid.

February 17.—Long reports are given of the destitution in the western districts of the counties of Inverness and Roes, and of the villages such as Evanton, &c. A report by Sheriff Fraser, of Fort-William, revealed! a deplorable state of affairs in Moidart, Arisaig, Morar, and neighbouring districts. For instance, it is stated that of the total population of Arisaig, 868 in number, there were 671 requiring relief; and among the whole of this population there were found only about 10^ bolls of meal, affording sustenance for two and a-half days. This is typical of other districts. A memorial signed by 69 of the poorer inhabitants of Evanton, in Ross-shire, declared that many of them were subsisting solely on turnips. County Committees were busy organising relief. In Ross-shire the heritors agreed to give a guarantee for £4000 to the banks at Dingwall and £2000 to the banks at Tain to form a fund for the purchase of food to be soldi in terms of instructions. Both counties looked for assistance to the Edinburgh Committee.

February 24.—The main subject is still the sad state of the people and the disposition among them to oppose the export of grain. It would be monotonous at this stage to make long extracts. Mention, however, may be made of a meeting in Skye at which most of the proprietors, including Lord Macdonald and Macleod of Macleod, were present'. It was stated that a large amount of work had been afforded, and that although a considerable amount of privation had occurred, not a single death from starvation had taken place. An ample supply of meal had been so far imported. Looking to the future, however, it was calculated that about 30,000 bolls of meal would be required to support the population till the end of October, and besides that provision had to be made for seed for another crop. Lord Macdonald calculated that the cost altogether would be £68,000, and deducting £13,000 which had been applied for under the Drainage Act, and £5000 which would probably be sent home by Skye workmen employed in the south, there would still be a difference of £50,000. The meeting accordingly resolved to apply for assistance to the General Committee in Edinburgh. They also proposed to apply to the Government to assist emigration, as no dependence could be placed on the produce of the potato. A paragraph gives particulars of applications under the Drainage Act for the eight Northern Counties. Altogether, it is stated, nearly half-a-million sterling had been scoured for these counties, the employment from which, it was hoped, would he productive of the greatest temporary good and permanent benefit. A food riot is reported from the village of Avoch, in the Black Isle, in apprehension of which a detachment of soldiers had been obtained from Fort-George. The exporter, however, came forward and announced that to prevent blooshed he had resolved to abandon the intended shipment, and to retain the grain in the country. A correspondent says that he had seen nowhere anything like the destitution in the village of Avoch.

March 3.—There was a serious food riot at Wick, which had to be quelled hy the action of two companies of soldiers. After the soldiers had been assaulted with volleys of stones, they were obligod to use the bayonet and to fire, but they acted with consideration, and only a few persons were wounded, and these, it was believed, not seriously. This had the effect of restoring order. In a riot at Thurso the mate of a vessel which had come to load grain was seriously injured. Soldiers were summoned from Wick.

Ibid.—Commissioners from the Admiralty held sittings at Inverness to examine witnesses for and against the Harkour Bill.

March 10.—There is nearly a column about food riots in Ross-shire, chiefly at Invergordon and in the neighbourhood. About a month previous to this time additional troops had been ordered to Fort-George, hut their transport had been so long delayed that the people seem to have concluded that they would not come at all; and so “disregarding or overpowering any civil force that could the drought against them, they prevented at every port the shipment of grain, interrupted the course of trade, and thus inflicted material injury upon farmers and dealers in corn.” Early the previous week, however, a detachment of the 27th Regiment reached the Fort, and a party of 105 men was promptly despatched to Invergordon. This small force had an exciting time. They had to guard strings of carts coming from the district with grain and meal for shipment, and in some cases the mobs got at the carts before the soldiers, and attempted to seize or scatter the meal. Under military guard, however, shipments were effected and a number of arrests made. The soldiers afterwards went to Dingwall, where their presence prevented disorder. It is mentioned that country people had recently begun to break into granaries and mix the different kinds so as to make them unmarketable, and even unfit for seed. “The injury done in this way has been very great.”

Ibid.—Mr Forbes of Culloden had made an additional application for £15,000 under the Drainage Act, and had begun the erection of tile and brick works.

March 17.—The death is announced of Mr George Sutherland Taylor, of Golspie, in the 51st year of his age. He was iocai agent for the Duke of Sutherland, and apart from his duties in that capacity applied himself to literary pursuits, particularly to the history, antiquities, and traditions of the North. “When we last saw him he was anxiously meditating a histoiy of the Rebellion of 1715, for the illustration of which the depositories of the Duke of Sutherland had copious and valuable resources, hitherto unexplored. In the last number of the ‘Quarterly Review’ various extracts are given from Mr Taylor’s collections relative to the great Montrose. He contributed largely to Mr Scrope for his work on Deer-Stalking, wrote the articles ‘Sutherland’ and ‘Zetland’ for Mr Charles Knight’s Cyclopaedia, and was one of the most valuable assistants in the New Statistical Account of Scotland. No man was more generous in assisting others in all researches relative to Scottish antiquities and natural history. His information was both exact and extensive.” Mr Taylor wrote for the first Duke and Duchess Countess the traditions of the county, and was engaged when he died in a historical account of the family.

Ibid.—The Highland dwarfs from Kishorn, who had appeared before the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and in many towns in England and Scotland, were now appearing in the northern towns. They were in charge of a man named William Mackenzie. “Their trip to the south has greatly improved them, not only in personal appearance but in smartness and intelligence. They have also acquired the English language, of which they were formerly ignorant.” Their performance was considered superior to that of Tom Thumb, exhibited by Barnum. The term of their engagement was almost expired, and they were returning to Kishorn. In our issue of July 10 there is a paragraph with reference to these dwarfs, one of whom is still alive (1908).

Ibid.—There is a long article containing extracts from letters and reports cn the management of Colonel Gordon’s estates in Barra and South Uist. There was a strong complaint that the proprietor had stopped his works at the time when employment was most needed. Colonel Gordon defended himself, but the opinion of the editor was adverse, and he expressed the hope that since the correspondence had ceased Colonel Gordon had resumed his improvements. Unless labour be provided,” he said, ‘‘the people must starve.” The Government had sent supplies to relieve the destitution.

March 24—An old woman named Isabella Gunn, living alone in the parish of Latheron, in Caithness, had been found dead under circumstances which pointed to murder. She was of penurious habits, andi was supposed to be worth a little money.

March 31.—Mr Hugh Rose, proprietor of Kilravock, and Collector of Banda, in the Presidency of Bengal, died near Calcutta on 30th January. “During a visit to this country a few years since Mr Rose was warmly welcomed by his tenantry and the gentlemen of the North, who looked forward to his final return among them at no distant date as a valuable accession to the society of the district. His premature death has destroyed this hope, and will occasion a deep and general regret.”

April 7.—“A colony of the red or common squirrel appears to exist in the woods between Inverness and the Aird. Three specimens sent to us, within as* many months, from the same district, go far to establish it as a habitation of the squirrel.” Before this time, it is stated, there was no mention made of these animals north of the Grampians, or the valleys surrounding them.

April 13.—Owing to an acceleration of seven hours in the arrival of the mail from the south, the paper was now published on Tuesday evening. It was also enlarged, though still consisting of four pages, price 4jd. The issue gives an account of a violent storm of wind and rain which occurred on the previous Thursday. One of the casualties was the partial destruction of the ancient sculptured stone at Shandwick, Rigg, which was thrown down and broken.

Ibid.—Three men from Beauly were charged in the Sheriff Court at Inverness with mobbing and rioting in connection with the shipment of grain. They were found guilty, and sentenced to sixty days’ imprisonment.

April 20.—At the Circuit several persons were tried for the more serious rioting that had taken place at Castletown and Wick. Two men from Castletown were sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment; one from Wick, on account of his youth, got off with eight months. The sentence on another Wick man, whose case was considered more aggravated, was certified to the High Court of Justiciary, the judge stating that his sentence might be affected “by the degree of order which prevails in the county in the meantime.” Several cases from Dingwall were remitted for trial to Edinburgh, as the Court had sat for three days, and the Lord Justice-Clerk did not feel warranted in detaining the jury longer. The concluding sitting was on Friday, and the parties from Dingwall had been cited for Saturday.

April 27.—There are long extracts from a Parliamentary Blue-book dealing with the subject of a proposed scheme of emigration for the Highlands. The book contains letters from the Marquis of Lorne (late Duke of Argyll). The Government were slow to move, and no definite plan had been adopted.

May 4 and 11.—Mr Grant of Bught was appointed convener of the county of Inverness, on the retirement of the joint-conveners, Sir John Macpherson-Grant and Mr Ogilvy. Mr James Augustus Grant of Viewfield was appointed convener of the county of Nairn.

May 11.—The works on the Caledonian Canal had been completed, and the Canal was now open from sea to sea. “We are sorry to hear that the undertaking has been by no means a pro-

Stable one to Messrs Jackson & Bain (the contractors). This has arisen chiefly from the great increase in the price of labour and materials during the last four years, over which the contract extended.”—Imports of foreign barley, potatoes', and white peas are recorded.

May 18.—Prominence is given to two remarkable announcements. The first is the following order issued by the Lord-Steward of the Queen’s Household:—“Her Majesty, taking into consideration the present and increasing price of provisions, and especially of all kinds of bread and flour, has been graciously pleased to command that, from the date of this order, no description of flour except seconds, shall be used for any purpose in her Majesty’s household, and that the daily allowance of bread shall be restricted to one lb. per head for every person dieted in the palace.” The second is an advertisement signed by seventeen distinguished persons, including the Dukes of Bedford, Norfolk, Rutland, and Grafton, and! ten other peers, who pledge themselves on account of the prevailing distress “to reduce in our families as far as practicable the consumption of bread and flour,” and invite the co-operation of all others who concurred with them in their estimate of the present emergency. Lord John Russell had delivered a similar homily at the Lord Mayor’s feast, which the editor considered the boldest 6tep of all. The London correspondent says that the alarm among the middle and lower classes about the increased and increasing price of bread was very great.

Ibid.—A party of three seamen and a woman, who came to Inverness by the Beauly road from Wick, had an extraordinary story to tell. A barque called the “Swan," of Baltimore, bound from Valparaiso to Leith with tallow and hides, and having on board eighteen persons, including three passengers, caught fire off the western islands through the steward letting fall a lighted candle while he was drawing rum. The flames spread so rapidly that the ship was speedily destroyed, and eleven lives were lost. Six seamen and the stewardess, though much injured, succeeded in getting into a boat with only a few biscuits for food, and drifted about for two days and nights until they were picked up by a vessel off the Butt of Lewis, and landed destitute in Wick. Three of them were left there unfit to travel; the other four (three men and the woman) received some aid from the authorities, and started southward. At Inverness it was found that two of the men were in a deplorable state from burns, while the other had his arm broken. They were conveyed to the Northern Infirmary. The whole crew was American, but the parents of three had emigrated from The Highlands.

Ibid.—The issue contains an anecdote which has become classical in the Highlands. A sheep farmer remarkable for the amount of his stock and rates was talking of his doings at Falkirk Tryst, when a companion interrupted him with the remark—‘‘Why, you are making yourself as great a man as the Duke of Wellington.” The other promptly replied —“It was easy for the Duke of Wellington to put down his men at Waterloo—some men here and some men there, up and down the fields; but let him try to put down ten thousand sheep, forbye black cattle, at Falkirk Tryst, and it’s my opinion he’ll make a very confused business of it.”

Ibid.—It is stated that Mr Williamson, factor for Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, had ordered the Shandwick sculptured stone, which had been blown down and broken by the recent gale, to be bound up with iron, and re-erected on its ancient site.

Ibid.—The Rev. E. J. Findlater, Free Church, Lochearnhead, describes a tour which he had made in Sutherland. The Duke had provided employment for the people in the western districts, where the potatoes had failed, and had also provided ample stores of bread-stuffs and seed potatoes from Norway. He had ordered several hundred head of red deer to be slaughtered to make soup for dstribution. His Grace was also promoting emigration to Canada by sending as many families as wished to go there free of expense.

May 25.—The Ten Hours Factory Bill, which had passed through the House of Commons after a good deal of discussion, was read a second time in the House of Lords by a large majority, and its adoption secured.—Food riots had occurred in Cornwall, Exeter, Jersey. In Ireland outrages continued to be perpetrated amidst the ravages of fever and mortality. In the West End of London bakers were charging Is 2d and Is 3d for the four-pound loaf, and second class bakers charged l½d and 12½d.

Ibid.—At a recent meeting of the Edinburgh section of the Relief Committee, it was stated that £10,000 would be sent from India for the Highlands alone. The 78th Regiment of Highlanders, who were in India, had subscribed £140 for the relief of Highland and Irish distress.

Ibid.—On the farm of Kirkton, near Gran-town, the plough struck a flagstone on a light sandy hillock, and the removal of the stone revealed a human skeleton of large proportions. There were two urns described as of rude workmanship but elaborately carved.

June 1.—This issue records the death of Daniel O’Connell, and has an article on his career.— The arrival of wheat from Dantzic had brought a sudden and great fall in price. From Monday to Saturday the decline of price in London was from 15s to 18s, and in some cases 20s per quarter. The supply from Russia was expected to be limited only by the means of conveyance.—Another paragraph mentions the erection of a monument, by permission of the Queen, in the Savoy Chapel, Strand, to the memory of Dr Archibald Cameron, who was executed seven years after the rebellion of 1745. The date of the monument is 1846, and it was erected by Dr Cameron’s great-grandson.

June 8.—The death of Dr Chalmers is the chief topic in this issue, and a cordial tribute is paid to the greatness of his genius and character. “His plans, his mode of operation, his conceptions, his style and language, were all original, not derived. He stamped his mind upon the age, and exercised a potent and! widespread influence.”—The publication of Mr Thomas Tod Stoddart’s “Angler’s Companion” is made the subject of a long and interesting article.

Ibid.—A new mail coach is advertised to run three times a week “between Inverness and Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye.”

June 15 and 22.—Rural notes in these issues state that the crops were promising, and that potatoes “never looked better at this season of the year.” Echoes of the riots occur in summary trials and sentences.

June 29.—The announcement appears that Queen Victoria had taken Laggan, in Badenoch, from the Marquis of Abercorn for a visit in the autumn. It was also believed that her Majesty would visit Dunrobin, passing through Inverness. The first announcement was correct, but the visit to Sutherland was put off, and delayed for many years, in fact until 1872. An article on Dunrobin describes the additions which were being made to the Castle, transforming it into a princely residence. A large staff of masons and other labourers were busy at work. The building had been in progress for nearly three years, and it was calculated that other two years would pass before everything was finished. It was noted that the old Castle would still form an important part of the structure. The editor observes that the Marquis of Abercorn’s shooting lodge at Ardverikie, on the margin of Loch-Laggan, was on the property of Cluny Macpherson (since then sold to Sir John Ramsden). “The extent of his lordship’s Highland shootings may be gathered from the fact that his rental is very nearly £2000 per annum—the deer forest alone being let for £1360.” The era of high shooting rents had begun.

Ibid.—A general election was now in prospect, and preparations were going forward. Mr James Morrison announced that he was retiring from the representation of the Inverness Burghs, and Mr Matheson of Ardross offered himself as a candidate. “There is a strong impression in his favour,’’ we are told, “from his connection with the North by birth, education, property, and other ties. His long residence in China has not deadened his Scottish feelings or weakened his interest in the prosperity of the Highlands, while it has conferred upon him commercial importance, wealth, and distinction.”

Ibid.—The representative of an old Highland family. Mrs Grant, late of Corriemony, passed away in Inverness, where she had resided1 for some years, enjoying the respect of the community. Her remains were conveyed in a hearse, drawn by four horses, to the family burying-ground in Clach-Hurridan Churchyard.

July 6.—“The Inverness Municipal and Harbour Bills have been read a third time in the House of Commons and passed. They have also passed the Standing Orders Committee of the House of Lords—so that within a few days, it is probable, our local bills will have received the sanction of the Legislature.” The final stage was duly notified. A Road Act for Ross and Cromarty was also passed.

Ibid.—Sir Colin Campbell, Governor of Ceylon, whose death was recently notified, spent his early days at Fort-George, where his father, John Campbell of Melfort, was Lieutenant-Governor. Sir Colin was one of a family of seventeen, including nine sons, who all served their country. They received their early education in the schools of Campbell-town and Fortrose. Three of the brothers were killed in India, two in the same action; and the only one surviving at this date was Colonel Frederick Campbell, who commanded the Artillery in Canada.

July 13.—At the Wool Market the price of stock was high. As compared with the previous year there was an advance of from 6d to Is 6d on wedders; from Is to 2s 6d on ewes; and from Is to' 2s 6d on lambs. In wool, however, prices were backward, showing a fall of about Is 6d per stone. This was due to depression in the manufacturing districts.

Ibid.—The foundation-stone of the Free Church Institution in Inverness was laid on the previous Thursday. At a later date, it came to be known as the High School, and was the predecessor of the present High School. The original buildings now form the Institute for the Blind.

Ibid.—A serious accident took place at the bridge at the Pass of Inverfarigaig. As a carriage conveying a family party was approaching the bridge the horses ran off, and the conveyance, striking the parapet, was thrown with the horses into the rocky stream below. One of the party, a young lady, was killed and the others injured.

Ibid.—A golden eagle was caught in a trap near Knockie, in Stratherrick. The eagle, however, succeeded in drawing out the stake that held the trap, and with a weight of lbs. attached to its leg crossed and re-crossed Loch-Ness several times. About a month later the royal bird was found dead on the heights of Glenmoriston, about 16 miles from the place where it was trapped.

July 20 and 27.—A new candidate had appeared for the representation of the Inverness Burghs, namely, Mr Hartley Kennedy, a gentleman long resident in India, and1 in 1847 Chairman of the India and London Life Assurance Company. He was recommended by Mr Joseph Hume, M.P. Meetings at which Mr Matheson and Mr Kennedy appeared are reported in the issue of the 27th. Mr Kennedy announced himself as a “free and independent” candidate. Mr Mackenzie of Applecross had finally resolved to retire from the representation of Ross--shire, without undergoing a contest, and Mr James Matheson of the Lews, who stood in the Liberal interest, was the only candidate. Parliament was dissolved on the 24th inst.

July 27.—It is stated that Mr Matheson of the Lews had purchased Ullapool from the British Fishery Society for the price of £5250.

August 2.—The nomination of the candidates for the Inverness Burghs is reported. Mr Nicol proposed Mr Alexander Matheson, and was seconded by Colonel Mackintosh of Farr. Ex-Provost Sutherland proposed Mr Kennedy, and wais seconded by Provost Wilson, of Nairn. There was a great assemblage in front of the hustings, which were erected on the Exchange. The contest had excited keen local feeling.

August 10.—Mr Matheson was elected member for the Inverness Burghs by a majority of 81 over his opponent. There was a majority for Mi Matheson in all the burghs. Mr Henry J. Baillie was reelected member for the county of Inverness without opposition, and Major Cumming Bruce was also reelected for the counties of Elgin, and Nairn. In the Elgin Burghs there were three candidates—Mr Skene Duff, Sir A. Leith Hay (the former member), and Mr Bannerman. Mr Skene Duff was elected, the figures being for Mr Duff 242, for Sir Andrew Hay 147, and for Mr Bannerman 192.

August 17.—The election of Mi James Matheson of the Lews for the representation of Ross and Cromarty was a great day in Dingwall and district. As Mr Mackenzie of Applecross had withdrawn from the contest, there was no opposition, but the election was celebrated by a procession, arches, flags, and a dinner. Sir David Dundas was re-elected for Sutherland, Mr Loch for the Northern Burghs, and Mr Traill for Caithness.

Ibid.—Colonel Sir John Macra, who died at Bruiach on the 9th inst., had been at the siege of Copenhagen, at Corunna, in the Walcheren Expedition, in the Peninsula, and in the Mahratta and Pindaree war of 1818. He was also military secretary to the Marquis of Hastings in India and in Malta. In later years he suffered from ill-health, partly the effects of fever caught in the swamps of Holland.

Ibid.—A curious reminiscence of cattle lifting in the year 1689 comes from a Badenoch source. A party of Lochaber men in that year had captured about 120 black cattle in Aberdeenshire, and had driven them as far as Dalunchart, in Badenoch, where they were overtaken by a party of fifty well-armed horsemen. Refusing to give up the cattle in return for “a bag of meal and a pair of shoes” to each man, they were attacked and! the cattle recaptured.

August 31. — The issue of the 24th inst., presumably containing an account of Queen Victoria’s arrival at Ardverikie, Loch-Laggan, is missing from the file, but the present issue contains details of the visit. Her Majesty was accompanied by Prince Albeit and their elder children. Among the incidents was a series of Highland games, given on Prince Albert’s birthday. The Queen had a fine new barge placed upon the lake, and six seamen arrived from the Royal yacht to row. “All the outfits of the barge have now come to hand—the brass rods for the support of the canopy, the canopy itself of green silk, with tassels, the oars, and the other necessary appendages. The barge is one of the finest, in its equip-meats and ornaments, that ever floated on Highland loch, and is worthy to bear the royal lady of the lake.”

Ibid.—There is an account of the “encounter in Glen-Tilt,” when the Duke of Atholl attempted to shut up the right of way, and stopped Professor Balfour and a party of naturalists. The Duke of Leeds had previously aroused indignation by attempting to shat up mountain passes. There are frequent references to the dispute in subsequent issues.

Ibid.—The crisis in the corn trade was leading to the stoppage of large firms. The London correspondent says—“House after house, of the highest standing, and highest repute for wealth, have come tumbling down to the ground, leaving only wrecks of dividends behind.” The collapse was due to the great rise in corn, followed by the sudden collapse of prices, as previously reported.

September 7.—The Queen and Royal Family were still at Loch-Laggan.—Mr Matheson of Ardross had bought an estate in Kintail.— News had arrived of the safe arrival of emigrants from the West Coast of Sutherland at Montreal.—An important show of Cheviot sheep was held at Lairg.

Ibid.—The bodies of two gentlemen, with knapsacks on their backs, were found at the side of the old military road about nine miles south of Fort-William. One was a man about forty years of age, the other about twenty-five. The unfortunate travellers proved to be William Henry Whitburn, brewer at Esher, in Essex, and William Stericker, Fen-church Street, London. They had started on a pedestrian tour from Ballachulish, and the weather becoming very wet and stormy, they had perished of cold and exhaustion.

September 14.—The work of the Highland Relief Committee was drawing to a close, as it was hoped that the harvest would prove satisfactory. Apprehensions of another failure of the potato crop existed, but the editor says that most of the signs were favourable. “The benevolence and zeal of the public supplied a magnificent fund for relief, and it appears to have been applied with care and discrimination.” The Edinburgh Committee reported that the subscription amounted to £113,749 3s 10d, and the disbursements to £38,202 5s 10d, leaving a balance of £75,546 18s. The balance at the credit of the Glasgow Committee was £39,254 Is lid, and it appeared subsequently that the total subscriptions at that centre amounted to £71,199 14s 6d. Committees were appointed to consider as to the disposal of the funds.

Ibid.—A quotation from a London paper treats of the disaster in the com market. “Taking the highest rates and those current now, the fall in wheat is no less than 62s per quarter, and on flour 26s per barrel. English new wheat is about 44s to 53s per quarter; and according to a report before us, Indian corn, being at the reduced prices of 22s to 30s, is taken chiefly by pig-feeders, as the cheapest article they can obtain. Indian corn-meal has been £5 to £5 10s per ton. We can scarcely feel surprise after this at the wholesale ruin of firms engaged in the corn trade.’’

September 21.—After a stay of nearly a month at Ardverikie, the Queen left on the 17th, and embarked at Fort-William under escort of a Royal squadron. The weather had been of a very mixed character during her stay, and a drizzling rain fell on the day of departure. There was, however, an animated and enthusiastic gathering at Fort-William with arches and flags. Prince Albert did not join the Queen until the evening of the 17th, as he had gone to Inverness. The squadron sailed on the morning of Saturday, the 18th. They returned by way of the Crinan Canal. Her Majesty was accompanied by the young Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales, the Marchioness of Douro, Lord Palmerston, &c.

Ibid.—Prince Albert came to Inverness on Thursday, the 16th, to visit the town and attend the Northern Meeting. He travelled from Gairlochy by the canal route, and was entertained during his short stay by Mr Baillie at Dochfour House. On landing, however, being a little late, the Prince drove forward at once to Inverness, where a great reception awaited him. There was a vast gathering of people, and a procession of Councillors, trades, and Freemasons. An address from the Cori>oration was presented in the Town Hall—Provost William Simpson presiding. Later, at Dochfour, the Earl of Seafield, Lord-Lieutenant, presented the county address. One of the features of the proceedings was a gathering of the Clan Mackintosh, a body of 200 men under their chief, who was accompanied by his brother, AEneas Mackintosh. With bagpipes and ensigns they met the Prince at Tomnahurich Bridge, and formed a lane through which his carriage passed. The men were marshalled in three divisions, at the head of each being a Waterloo man wearing his medals. There was, of course, a large attendance at the Northern Meeting balls, especially on Thursday evening. when the Prince w;is present. The numbers are given as about 300. “Prince Albert entered the ball-room shortly after ten o’clock. He was dressed in a blue coat, with white vest and black pantaloons, and wore the green ribbon of the Thistle and the collar of the Order of the Garter. His Royal Highness remained about two hours, but did not dance. The reel dancing appeared to be the chief object of the Prince’s attention, but he was gratified with the whole proceedings, and repeatedly expressed his admiration of the music, the arrangements) and the general aspect of the ball.” The Prince left Dochfour on Friday and rejoined the Queen in Loch-Eil.

September 21 and 28.—On the first date the London correspondent writes—‘‘All is dismay in the city. Failure has followed failure in rapid succession, involving hundreds of thousands in pecuniary losses and difficulties.” Two cases are mentioned, one a firm of stockbrokers, with liabilities between them of about 2£ millions. Next week the crisis was less acute, but hopes were premature.

September 28.—It is noted that while Prince Albert was absent on his visit to Inverness the Queen planted two trees at Ardverikie, a larch and a Scotch fir, one for her Majesty and the other for the Prince, in commemoration of their happy sojourn by the side of Loch-Laggan. When her Majesty visited Cluny Castle, shortly before her departure, the chief made his little son, Gordon Mac-pherson, present the Prince of Wales with a ring, containing a miniature of Prince Charles Edward. Some days afterwards the Duchess of Norfolk received the Queen’s commands to send from the Prince of Wales for the boy a splendid breastpin, consisting of a carbuncle set in diamonds.—The same issue gives an account of a Strathspey gathering held at Castle Grant. For many year's these gatherings proved of great interest in the district.

October 5 and 12.—These issues contain reports relating to the Highland Destitution Funds raised in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The total disbursements now come to £82,800, and a surplus remained in hand of £114,000. Uncertainty was felt as to the prospects of the coming year, and various questions were discussed. Ultimately the Central Board adopted a resolution declaring that the funds were raised for the relief of destitution in the Highlands and Islands, produced by the failure of the potato crop of 1846, and they were not entitled to divert the balance of the fund to any other purpose. Meantime, however, they suspended the general machinery of relief, but authorised assistance in cases of necessity; and! further authorised the respective sections to take all proper steps with the view of facilitating the migration of labourers from any localities in the Highlands, where there was no demand for labour, to places in the south, where there was such demand.

October 12.—Mr Matheson of Ardross gave £100 for the improvement of the Ness Islands, and other handsome gifts to local institutions. The proprietors of the Caledonian Hotel claimed £300 for damage incurred during the potato riots. They consented to reduce the sum to £280, of which one-half, £140, was paid by the county. The town subsequently paid the other half.—The congregation of Free St George’s, Edinburgh, had given a call to Rev. Alexander Stewart, Cromarty, signed by 530 communicants and adherents. —A report by Mr Grant of Kincorth on his plantations on the outskirts of the Culbin Sands is quoted from the “Journal of Agriculture.”

October 19.—Financial calamities were multiplying in England. “Commercial people are stunned and stupefied by disasters following at the heels of each other in rapid succession. House after house tumbles down faster and faster, and people rub their eyes and look about to ascertain what commercial fabric is left standing.” Heavy failures occurred in the East Indian trade.

Ibid.—At the Inverness Town Council Dr Nicol submitted a report on the Ness Islands. The scheme proposed to cut down some of the trees and to erect two porter’s lodges. The cost was estimated at £800. The issue contains long extracts from a hook on “Highland Sports and Highland Quarters,” by Herbert Byng Hall. It gives an account of Glenmoriston and of a fine breed of deerhounds kept by the proprietor. One of these animals had subdued no fewer than 18 stags, which he had either brought to bay or killed.

October 26.—The financial panic was extending, and involving railways and English banks. The cry for relief was again loud in Ireland, “mixed up with cases of agrarian outrage.” Continental politics were rapidly preparing the way for revolutionary movements. These began in Switzerland.

Ibid.—The Parochial Boardi of Inverness had a long meeting to consider the question of poor-house accommodation. Dunbar’s Hospital was in use for the purpose, and a place which is called Muirtown Hospital.

Ibid.—A letter from Calcutta announces the death of the Rev. John Macdonald, Free Church missionary. He was a son of the Rev. Dr Macdonald of Ferintosh. “His worth and piety had endeared him to a numerous circle of friends, by whom his premature death will be greatly regretted.” Further notices appear in subsequent issues.

November 2.—In consequence of the commercial crisis, the Government had suspended the Bank Charter Act.

Ibid.—At the Ross-shire County Meeting a proposal came up for the opening up and improvement of roads in the western districts, from Auclinasheen to Poolewe, Ullapool, and Gairloch. The cost was estimated at a little under £6000. The local proprietors proposed to contribute one-third, the Highland Destitution Committee was willing to contribute another third, and the county was asked to contribute £1600, the western districts providing the balance. The meeting, however, rejected the proposal by a majority of eighteen to fourteen. A long and acrimonious correspondence followed. Several contributors to the Highland Destitution Fund had authorised the balance of their subscriptions to be sent to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

November 9.—The Rev. Alexander Stewart, of Cromarty, died on the 5th inst. A correspondent writes that although he always belonged to the Evangelical party, he was slow to acquiesce in the necessity for the Disruption ; and after he had left the Established Church he abstained from all acrimonious feelings and expressions. “The estimation in which he was justly held by those who knew best his qualifications as a minister of the gospel is proved by the fact of his having been chosen to succeed Dr Candlish in Edinburgh. High, however, as was this distinction, it must have had the effect of disturbing his peace of mind. His attachment to Cromarty, and his affection for his flock, were strong, and these coming into conflict with his desire, from a sense of duty, to accept the call to preside over one of the mast intellectual congregations of the capital of his country, created intense mental anxiety inconsistent with the enjoyment of good bodily health, and he died, prematurely, after a short illness.” Mr Stewart was in his fifty-fourth year. He is the minister of whom Hugh Miller speaks so highly in his “Schools and Schoolmasters.”

Ibid.—An entertainment was given by Dr Nicol in the Holm Mills, in honour of the return of Mr Mackintosh of Drummond and Holm from a Continental tour, to take possession of his estates on attaining his majority. Dr Nicol stated that the mills had been originally begun by a powerful co-partnery with a small capital. “They were unsuccessful, and the wreck of their concern came accidentally into his hands when lie was a very young man, and totally ignorant of its nature.” He added that he had carried it on now for nearly thirty years, and had at length brought it to the state in which they beheld it, producing the fabrics with which the apartments were then adorned. Certain restrictions had been removed by the young proprietor, which would, he believed, add to its usefulness

November 16.—A change is foreshadowed in the management of the Sutherland estates. Under the existing system extensive tracts of land, capable of grazing from ten to fifteen and twenty thousand sheep, were held by large tacksmen. The second Duke, who had nothing to do with the original arrangement, proposed as the leases fell in to divide the farms into smaller areas, capable of carrying from two to five thousand sheep, and to let them to tenants who would be bound to reside on them. He also proposed to create arable farms of from £50 to £100 rent. These plans were hailed with satisfaction. It is stated that the Duke’s expenditure during the past year in feeding the poor and providing employment for them almost exceeded belief; and he had also laid out large sums in trenching uncultivated land on his estate. The late Mr Evander Maciver, factor at Scourie, states in his Reminiscences that nearly a thousand people emigrated from the North-west of Sutherland in three years, beginning in 1847. They went, at the expense of the Duke, to Upper Canada and Cape Breton, and Mr Maciver says he received for many years letters thanking him for the assistance given. “ Five large ships from Liverpool were engaged ; they came to Loch-Laxford, where the emigrants embarked. The cost of this emigration amounted to £7000, and it was well expended money.”

Ibid.—A number of Highland labourers were now returning home owing to the stoppage of railway works.—A householder in Dingwall was fined for refusing to billet soldiers.

November 23.—Prevalence of fever and anticipation of cholera had occasioned an active sanitary movement all over the country. Under the new Municipal Act the Inverness authorities had power to reform the state of the town, and it seems to have stood in much need of improvement in the poorer quarters. An article on the subject says that in the early part of the year it was not uncommon to see four and five funerals a day leaving certain quarters, “the greater part of this mortality arising without doubt from local cause?.’’ The Police Commissioners and the Parochial Board' were taking active measures.—A pamphlet by Dr Alison, of Edinburgh, on the state of the Highlands is noticed at some length.

November 30.—Parliament was now in session. It was concerned with the state of Ireland, the commercial crisis, and the necessity for extending the time for the construction of railways.

Ibid.—The editor acknowledges receipt of £237 15s 2d, subscribed in Van Diemen’s Lund, for the relief of Highland! distress.—A new police force was established in the burgh, consisting of 16 men.—A letter gives anecdotes of certain Macraes, who were distinguished in 1715 and 1745 for their strength and valour.

December 7.—“It has been stated in Parliament that throwing out of view commercial failures where the liabilities of each were under £20,000 sterling, there have been since the month of July last no less than seventy-nine failures, the aggregate liabilities of which exceed £15,000,000 sterling.”

Ibid. — The Postmaster - General issued an order to the railway companies to regulate their clocks by Greenwich time, so that one uniform mode of computation might prevail.

December 14.—What is called an illegal combination of journeymen boot and shoemakers occurred in Inverness at this time. The workmen had formed a friendly society, and then turned it into a union which fixed the rate of wages, and insisted on all the workmen in the trade joining them. If any refused they insisted on the employers dismissing them. “They forced the masters to succumb,” but “at last a complaint was lodged with the authorities, who, after due consideration apprehended four of the leaders of the society for contravention of the Statute 6, George IV., cap. 129.” Such was the experience of what seems to have been the first trade union in Inverness.

Ibid.—The grouse season had a poor record. Disease had thinned the coveys, and the frosts of spring had reduced their food, so that “the birds resorted in great flocks to corn-fields.” Towards the end of the season, however, disease had almost disappeared. Roe-deer had been plentiful. Red-deer, though as numerous as usual, did not carry such size of antlers as in farmer years.

Ibid.—A violent gale and high tide had occurred, doing much damage and causing loss of life. Eleven lives were lost on the ‘Caithness and Shetland coasts. “From Cromarty we learn that part of the Fishertown had a narrow escape of being swept away by the sea, which inundated the row of houses fronting the beach. Several of the boats drawn up on the beach were destroyed, the surf having been carried from thirty to forty yards above high-water mark. Upwards of twenty vessels ran into the bay for shelter."

December 21 and 28.—Lord Ward continued to refuse a site for a Free Church in Glengarry. His conduct was condemned, but he remained obstinate. At the same time he intimated a contribution of £20 a year to the educational scheme of the Church of Scotland.


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